Friday, February 28, 2014

Ferrero crepe cake

Every year for my sons birthday, I would make Nutella crepes for breakfast. Yesterday was his 18th birthday, and he is entering the world of adults. As every mom, I am very emotional, and I could tell you story after story about him as a baby, toddler, and a teenager. I could tell you that he was cutest and most precious baby. But every mom would say that. So, I will not talk much, I will take you straight to the recipe.
This one was made just for him, with Ferrero like cream, and chocolate crepes. Its very rich and flavorful. Mascarpone cheese, Nutella, and roasted hazelnuts. Dig in :)

Chocolate crepes - Pierre Herme's recipe
190 gr. flour
7 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs room temperature
500 ml milk
6 tablespoons beer
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
Sift the flour and cocao powder together. Whisk in the sugar. In another bowl, whisk eggs and milk together just to blend. Whisk in the beer, and melted butter.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with your dry ingredients and whisk to blend well. You will have a very tin bather. You can also make it in a blender of food processor. Do not overmix. Refrigerate overnight.
Rub a seasoned or nonstick 19cm pan and put it over medium-high heat. As soon as pan is hot, pour in about 3 tablespoons of batter, and swirl the pan so batter spreads across it in an even, thin-as-possible-ever layer.
When the batter has set, run a knife or spatula around the edges, and flip it. Cook until other side is lightly browned.
I made double doze of batter, so I had about 24 crepes.

For the filling:
(recipe inspired by Una's Ferrero cake)

350 gr nutella
450 gr mascarpone cheese
150 gr. roasted peeled hazelnuts
1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur (optional)

First roast and peel your hazelnuts. Heat the oven to 350F/180C.
Put your hazelnuts in one layer on the baking pan, and roast them for about 10 min, until they are blistery. Take them out, transfer them to the kitchen towel ( chose old or dark, because it will stain your kitchen towel). Close the towel up into a bundle, and rub energetically until their skin comes off in flakes. Processes them in food processor.
Mix room temperature mascarpone cheese with nutella. You don't need mixer, just do it with spatula. Add processed  hazelnuts and hazelnut liqueur (if you don't have it, plain old vanilla is fine)

Put one tablespoon of filling on each crepe, and spread evenly. Layer the cake until you use up all of the ingredients. Decorate with grated chocolate, and chocolate whipped cream.

For the chocolate cream you will need:
250 ml heavy cream
50 gr chocolate
1 tablespoon sugar
Heat the cream and sugar until boil. Pour it over the chocolate, let it melt for a few minutes, and mix energetically, so the chocolate is completely blended into the cream.
Chill the chocolate cream for few hours. Whip the cream with a whisk until it is almost firm. Be careful not to over-whip. Decorate the cake and sprinkle with chocolate curls.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pierre Herme's croissants

Za recept na srpskom, odite na dno stranice :)

If someone tells you that you can make fast version of croissants, that you can mix from scratch and bake  in an hour, do not waste your time. They will look like play-dough crescents.
Croissants are a buttery perfection that require patience and time, but resting time in the fridge, not hard work. Active preparation time is not more than hour and a half. But, I was making mine for 5 days. And here's why.
First day, I prepared the dough. I let it rise, punched it, and put it in the fridge. The next day, I prepared the butter, and laminated it for the first time. I put it in the fridge, and the next day, rolled it for the second time. It takes you 10 min to roll and fold it. Then back to the fridge. I let the dough rest in the fridge until Friday night, and Friday night I shaped them. Back to the fridge again. Saturday morning I let them rise, and baked them.
You can make them in a day, but you really do not need to rush. The dough can't be rushed, it won't like it, and you are not going to like it ether. When you rest it between folding, it has time to relax its gluten, and it will be easier for you to roll. For me, making them is a big pleasure that its very rewarding. Is there anything better on a cold Sunday morning than fresh croissants out of the oven and cup of coffee or hot chocolate?
I made them many, many times, using different recipes. But as you may know, I received Pierre Hermes cookbook for my birthday, and his croissant recipe was something I had to try. I adore good croissants, and his looked like pure perfection. So I decided to give them a try. I made a double dose. I always do that when I make danishes, puff pastry, or croissants. I bake half, and I freeze other half.

12 gr compressed fresh yeast
100 ml whole milk warmed to 68F/20C
500 gr flour
12 gr salt
75 gr fine sugar
35 gr very soft unsalted butter
15 gr dry whole milk powder
145 ml still mineral water warmed to 68F/20C (I used regular tap water)
325 gr cold unsalted butter (do not use margarine)
1 egg yolk
2 whole eggs
pinch of fine salt

Prepare the croissants. Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Sift the flour, then incorporate the salt, sugar, butter, milk powder, two-thirds of water, and the yeast dissolved in milk. Knead the mixture briefly. Add more of the remaining water if the dough appears too firm (I used all of the water). Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and keep it at 72F/20C for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in volume. (It took me 3 hours for the dough to double at that temperature).
Punch down the dough to its original volume and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. (I refrigerated it until the next day). Punch it down again, wrap in plastic, and place it in the freezer for 30 min.

Remove the dough from the freezer. Pound half the cold butter with a rolling pin to soften, then kneed the butter by hand to form rectangle. (I put my butter in the zip lock bag, rolled it until thin, cooled it in the fridge. Before placing it on the dough I just cut the bag to take it out).

Sprinkle a work surface with flour and roll out a long rectangle of the dough. It should be three times longer than it is wide. Mine was abotu 17cm wide, and 52-53cm long. Place the butter against the lower edge of the dough. With the palm of your hand, pull the butter over the dough until it covers two-thirds of it. ( I just placed two pieces of butter that I took out of my zip lock bag).

Wrap the remaining third of the dough over the two-thirds of it. Fold the lowest third of the buttered part over the other third. Place the dough in the freezer for 30 min, then refrigerate for 1 hour. ( Mine was in the fridge until the next day).

Roll out the dough into a long rectangle as before, and proceed in the same way with the other half of the butter. Place the dough in the freezer again for 30 min, than refrigerate for 1 hour. (I left mine in the fridge until the next day again, and I did 3 folds total).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sprinkle a work surface with all purpose flour and roll out the dough to a thickens of 3 mm. Using a sharp knife, cut out isosceles triangles 20 cm high and with a base measuring 12 cm. (My width was 12cm, but they were longer). Place each triangle on the work surface with the base toward you. Roll it up on itself, then curve the ends into a crescent, shape. ( I cut the middle of each triangle, and I left mine straight, french style).

As you finish shaping the croissants, place them on the lined baking sheets spacing them 5 cm apart. Set them aside at room temperature to proof for about 1 1/2 hours. ( I shaped mine Friday night, wrapped the pan really well, and put them in the fridge overnight. I took them out in the morning, and let them rise for 3 hours. They should be jiggly when you shake the pan, if they are ready. The temperature in the room should  be around 25 C )
Preheat a convection oven to 400F/200C.
Prepare the glaze. Whisk together the egg yolk, whole eggs, and salt in a bowl ( I just used 1/2 of the egg white, 1 egg yolk, and teaspoon of water, but i glazed them twice).
Using a pastry brush, coat the croissants with the glaze. Place the croissants in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 350F/180C. Bake for 20 min. (I baked mine 25, but that really depends on your oven).

Remove from the oven and transfer the croissants to wire rack to cool. You will have perfect croissants.
We enjoyed ours with jams, and Pierre Hermes hot chocolate.

Za testo vam je potrebno:

12 gr svezeg kvasca
100 ml  punomasnog mleka ugrejanog na 20C
500 gr brasna
12 gr soli
75 gr secera
35 gr omeksalog neslanog putera
15 gr punomasnog mleka u prahu
145 gr negazirane mineralne vode ugrejane na 20C (ili obicne)
325 gr. neslanog putera (nikako margarina)

Za glazuru:
1 zumance
2 cela jaja
prstohvat soli

Napisacu vam recept iz knjige, i u zagradi cu dodati promene koje sam ja radila. Vi pratite ono sto vama najvise odgovara.
Ugrejte mleko na 20C i rastopite kvasac u njemu.
Prosejte brasno, dodajte so, secer, mleko u prahu, vodu, rastopljeni kvasac i omeksali puter. Kratko mesite testo dok se ne sjedini (ne treba dugo mesiti). Dobicete tvrdje testo.
Prebacite testo u posudu u kojoj ce narastati, pokrijte prozirnom folijom i ostavite na 20C dok se ne udvostruci. U knjizi kazu 1 - 1 1/2 sati, meni je uzelo duplo vise vremena.

Pritisnite testo rukama da ispusti vazduh i prebacite ga u frizider na sat vremena. (meni je odlezalo u frizideru do sutradan)
Izvadite testo iz frizidera, ponovo ga pritisnite da ispusti vazduh i prebacite u zamrzivac na 30 minuta. Za to vreme pripremite puter. Puter treba istanjiti na sirinu trake na koju cete tanjiti testo. Testo treba da bude tri puta duze, nego sto je siroko. Ja sam puter stavila u 4 zip kesice i istanjila. Dve su bile za prvo preklapanje, dve za drugo.

Testo izvadite iz zamrzivaca, istanjite u dugacku traku (debljina testa bi trebala biti 3-4 mm, duzina mi je bila oko 52-53 cm, sirina 17-18cm). Po testu rasporedite ocvrsli puter (vidi sliku gore). Puterom trebate pokriti 2/3 testa, 1/3 ostaje nenamazana. Tu jednu nenamazanu trecinu preklopite preko namazanog dela. Znaci, ako je puter na levoj strani, nenamazan deo testa na desnoj, preklopite sa desna na levo. Nakon toga, preklopite sa leva na desno, tako da vam strana sa puterom dodje preko gornjeg dela testa koje je nenamazano. Uvijte testo u prozirnu foliju i stavite u zamrzivac na 30 min, pa nakon 60 min u frizider. (Moje testo je odmaralo do sutradan).

Testo opet istanjite u dugacku traku, i po njemu rasporedite drugi deo putera, na isti nacin kao prvi put i preklopite na isti nacin. Ovog puta testo ce biti glatkije. Opet ga uvijte u prozirnu foliju, i stavite u zamrzivac na 30 min, pa u frizider na sat vremena. (Moje testo je odmaralo do sutradan, i tanjila sam ga i preklapala jos jednom pre nego sto sam oblikovala krosane).

Izvadite testo iz frizidera, i opet istanjite dugu pravougaonu traku na 3 mm debljine. Ostrim nozem secite trouglove koji su 12 cm siroki i 20 cm visoki. Zasecite sredinu svakog trougla (vidi sliku gore). Uvijte kao kiflicu. Poredjajte na pleh, ostavljajuci dovoljno razmaka da mogu nesmetano da narastu, oko 2 sata. Premazite lagano glazurom.
Rernu ugrejte na 200C. Cim stavite kroasane, smanjite tempreraturu na 180C.
Pecite oko 20 min. Korasani trebaju biti res peceni.

Vazne napomene
* Kroasane nikako ne pravite sa margarinom.
* Testo obavezno odmarajte da bi se opustio gluten i da bi se ujednacila temperatura testa i putera.
* Prostorija u kojoj radite kroasane mora biti hladna. U toploj prostoriji ce se puter topiti, curiti i necete          dobiti slojeve.
* Puter i testo moraju biti iste temperautre. Mekano testo i hladan puter se ne mogu ravnomerno valjati,             puter ce pucati i kroasani se nece dobro listati.
* Premekan puter ce se upiti u testo, i kroasani ce biti masni i teski.
* Ako kroasani narastaju na previsokoj temeraturi, puter ce iscuriti iz njih pre pecenja.
* Kada zatresete pleh, kroasani trebaju da "zaigraju" kao zelatinozna smesa. To znaci da su dovoljno narasli    i da su spremni za pecenja.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


For me, bagels are something that I would eat in a hurry, when there is not time to make anything else for breakfast. We like onion, cheese and sesame ones. And you could tell I went crazy with sesame here :)
A nicely toasted and crunchy bagel is a good vehicle for cream cheese. With the cream cheese I could be creative, because you can literary put anything you like in there. Herbs, jalapeno peppers, vegetables, salmon...I would even put dips. Guacamole with cream cheese, egg salad with celery, and my latest favorite, radish salad with olives and cheese. You can check out the recipe for it in Serbian at my friends blog. So, if I could make all these good toppings, why couldn't I make good bagels also?
I decided to try. It is much easier and less time consuming than I thought.

For the dough you will need:
500 gr. flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
350 ml water

You can make your bagels in food processor, mixer, or by hand.
Start the yeast by mixing warm water, sugar, yeast, and 2-3 tablespoons of flour. When it foams, mix it with dry ingredients, and kneed or mix until dough becomes satiny and elastic. Transfer to lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it double.
Before you divide and shape your dough, prepare our water bath. You should have pot big enough to boil few bagels at the time (I did 5), and at least 4 inches (10cm) of water. Some recipes call for malt syrup that I could not find in grocery store, some are using sugar, I used 2 tablespoons of molasses. Let the water come to a boil, and preheat the oven to 400F/200C.

Divide the dough in 10 peaces. Ball each peace, than roll it into the rope. Wrap the dough around the back of your hand, overlapping the ends in your palm. Place your hand palm down on the work surface and roll dough back and forth until ends seal together. At this point, you can place your bagels in the fridge overnight which helps them develop better flavor, or you can boil and bake them in 10 min.

Gently lower each bagel into simmering poaching water with molasses. They should float to the surface within 15 seconds. Turn each bagel after 20 seconds, poach for another 20 seconds, and with slotted spoon transfer it back to the wire rack.  Lightly oil parchment paper, brush each bagel with beaten egg mixture (I forgot, so my seeds were falling of), dip them into the bowl with sesame (or just sprinkle),  and bake them for about 15-20 min until there are golden. They freeze very well if you wrap them while they are still warm.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Raspberry truffles

I am in love with these truffles. Is double chocolate truffle with creamy, fresh tasting raspberry center, surrounded with chocolate. Over the years I have made many different kinds of chocolate candies, but these knocked me of my feet. To make them, I used fresh raspberries puree which pairs so well with the chocolate, framboise liqueur to enhance raspberry flavor, Lindt chocolate which is great on its own, and coconut oil. Everything tastes rich, smooth and luxurious. Its the perfect Valentines day dessert :)

To make them you will need:
200 ml of raspberry puree
40 gr powder sugar
150 gr extra virgin coconut oil
200 gr dark chocolate
30 ml framboise liqueur 

First make the raspberry puree. Wash and drain raspberries well, and mash the with the fork. Add sugar, and let them stand for a few minutes. Process the in a blender and strain trough a sieve to remove seeds. You should have 200ml of raspberry puree.  Add liquer to it and set aside. 
Melt the chocolate with coconut oil until mixture is smooth. Add raspberry pure and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours. Using melon baller scoop chocolate mixture onto the sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Shape truffles into balls by rolling them between the palms of your hands. They do tend to melt fast when they are in your hands. I chilled my hands few times during rolling under cold water. 

You have few options for decorating truffles. If you dont have time, you can just roll them into the cocoa powder, powder sugar, or nuts. I glazed them with tempered chocolate, and decorated them with milk chocolate.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

French apple cake

Lately, I really like simple cakes that you can make with few good ingredients. This is one of them. Creamy, refreshing, melt in your mouth cake. I read the recipe a few times, but I was afraid it may be gummy because the apples are watery. So, I decided to to try two options. One, with semolina, and the other one with regular flour. It was fantastic both times, but the texture was a little bit different, and the one you are going to like more, depends not on its quality, but on your taste.
Taking pictures is hard lately, because its really cloudy and snowy in Chicago, so I don have the one with regular flour, but in the original recipe you can see the texture. Its a little bit creamier. So, when you decide to make it, chose the option that would work best for you.

680 gr granny smith apples
1 tablespoon Calvados (I used rum)
1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1/2 teaspsoon grated lemon peel
1 cup of flour (or semolina) +2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar +1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.
 Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the base of the pan in aluminum foil.
Slice the apples into 1/8-inch thick slices, then cut all of the slices in half so. Place apples into microwave-save dish or bowl and cover. Cook on high heat for 3 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool. Add calvados and lemon juice.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, oil, milk and vanilla and lemon peel.
Pour into dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Transfer 1 cup of batter back into the medium bowl. 
Add apple slices to the cake batter in the large bowl and fold in. Pour into prepared cake pan.
Whisk remaining 2 tbsp flour and 2 egg yolks into the medium bowl with the batter that was set aside. Drizzle the batter evenly over the apple batter already in the pan. 
Bake cake for 70-75 minutes, on the bottom rack until cake is dark golden brown. Serve when completely cool.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cranberry pate de fruit

Have you ever tried pate de fruit?
They are elegant, small, vibrant fruit jellies bursting with rich fruity flavors. They are tart and sweet, and feel like a fruit explosion in your mouth. I made them during my cranberry craze phase in November, and I forgot to post them. During my childhood, pate de fruit was something I loved even more than a chocolate. My love for them continues until today. So, I decided to make them. How hard could it be?
Well, my first attempt using this recipe was not so successful. I followed the recipe to a tee, and it would not jell. So, i used it up for the cranberry coffee cake. The cooking time was a problem. So, while I was troubleshooting the recipe, I found another one, and it worked

For this recipe, you will need:

1 small organic lemon
340 gr cranberries
75 ml water
500 gr sugar
170 gr Certo liquid pectin

Line an 8x8 inch square pan with sheet of parchment so that side and base of the pan are lined with it. Place the lemon slices, cranberries, and water in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Combine the cranberry puree with sugar. Cook stirring, until mixture reaches 235F/112C. Stir the pectin into the mixture and bring to a boil for a minute, stirring constantly. Pour the fruit into the pan, and cool to a room temperature.
Turn the block out on a cutting surface and pat dry excess moisture. Cut the pate de fruit with cutters or knife. Set on a cooling rack and let dry for hour or longer. Roll in sugar before serving.